The experience to drive results.
We have one of the premier public sector teams in our region. Our attorneys provide legal services to some of the largest public entities and school districts in our footprint, including the cities of Cincinnati and Dayton, OH, Lexington and Louisville, KY, and Indianapolis and Marion County, IN. We also advise some of the smallest public entities and every size in between.
Our attorneys have a keen understanding of the everyday blocking and tackling, deal and decision making required to get out ahead of potential problems in the public sector. With a tailored, outcome-focused approach, we help public sector clients quickly and creatively resolve complex issues and implement disciplined solutions to drive economic growth and strengthen their communities.
How We Help Clients
We advise our public sector clients on all aspects of labor and employment law, working with them to develop proactive and cost-effective solutions to the issues that public entities face on a daily basis. We represent public entities, large and small, in connection with labor contracts and collective bargaining matters. We also handle issues relating to ADA, FMLA, FLSA, discrimination, harassment, whistleblower laws, as well as unemployment or workers’ compensation, due process, statutory and common law claims.
- Collective bargaining
- ADA, FMLA, FLSA, Discrimination, Harassment, Whistleblower Claims
- Wrongful discharge
- Civil Service Hearings
- EEOC & State Agency Proceedings
- Handling grievances and arbitrations
- Discipline & Discharge
- Workers’ Compensation Defense
- Unemployment Compensation Defense
- Due process claims
- Common law claims
- Statutory claims
- Consultation and training
COVID-19 policies: The City of Dayton, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, adopted an emergency order mandating face coverings in certain places and weekly COVID-19 testing of employees if not vaccinated. As a result, the union filed unfair labor practice charges against the City. Team members at Frost Brown Todd successfully defended the City of Dayton against these charges confirming that employers are under no obligation to bargain with unions before the implementation of similar COVID-19 policies.
Labor Relations: When Dayton Public Schools was faced with “sick out” by certain bus drivers under its employ, team members of Frost Brown Todd immediately obtained a court order declaring the work stoppage illegal and soon after prevailed in an emergency hearing before the State Employment Relations Board.
Our team has defended hundreds of zoning commission and board of zoning appeals decisions as well as defended many constitutional challenges to zoning ordinances. We have also counseled and negotiated on behalf of clients in a wide range of multi-million-dollar construction and real estate matters involving municipal, township and school-related projects. We are uniquely situated in that we represent, as general and special counsel, numerous cities and villages across our footprint in real estate litigation, inverse condemnation and eminent domain cases, including the successful management of over 100 eminent domain lawsuits in the last five years alone. While we stand ready to aggressively defend public entities in litigation, we are equally adept at guiding clients through the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process.
- Advice on project delivery methods and contract types, including lump sum, cost-plus fee, guaranteed maximum price, design-bid-build, design-build, construction management at-risk, construction management agency, and multi-prime procurement.
- Risk management/best practices counseling and training
- Claims and dispute resolution (including defect and schedule impact claims)
- Mechanics’ liens and payments disputes
- Mediation and arbitration (as advocates and neutrals)
- Insurance counseling and claims
- Surety bond counseling and claims
Liberty Township, Ohio
Liberty Township, recognizing the need to properly plan for the new development and redevelopment in the Township, implemented a temporary moratorium on new development and redevelopment to effectively implement a new zoning district. When the moratorium was challenged, the team at Frost Brown Todd successfully defended the Township against an injunction to stop the application of the temporary development moratorium, making Liberty Township the first statutory township to successfully implement a development moratorium.
The City of the Village of Indian Hill, Ohio
The City of the Village of Indian Hill owned hundreds of acres of land outside of its corporate limits. The team at Frost Brown Todd worked with the City to navigate the annexation process for these properties. Frost Brown Todd team members took actions ranging from drafting the annexation petitions and ordinances authorizing annexation to representation of the City at the Board of County Commissioners hearing on the annexation petition.
Early in 2021, the City of Dublin sought to make certain roadway improvements, part of which involved the construction of a new road – University Boulevard. To move forward with this project, the City needed to acquire road rights-of-way and easements for the construction. Team members at Frost Brown Todd were able to assist the City in acquiring those rights so that the project could continue. As of December of 2021, the project was in full-swing with an expected completion date of January 2023.
The City of Worthington partnered with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve congestion in the “Northeast Gateway” for the City, which includes the intersection of three major roadways. As part of that project, the City needed to acquire road rights-of-way and easements to construct a new roadway. Members of the Government Services practice group at Frost Brown Todd were able to acquire those rights for the City so that the project could move forward. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.
Our extensive experience in all aspects of the procurement process gives our clients an uncommon advantage. We work with them on the “front end” to structure contracts in such a way that minimizes risks and significantly reduces the likelihood of disputes. Additionally, we help clients efficiently manage their procurement needs and assist with in-house audits and staff training sessions relating best practices for claims avoidance, project documentation, key contract issues, procurement policies and procedures and other legal issues faced by municipalities.
- Counseling on the public bidding and purchasing process
- “Front-end” review of projects to determine effective strategies
- Advising clients on bid review and award
- Prosecuting bid contests
- Contract negotiation, preparation and review
- Preparation of standardized purchase order forms for routine transactions
- Insurance review and counseling
- In-house audits and staff training sessions on best practices for claims avoidance, project documentation, key contract issues, procurement policies and procedures and other legal issues faced by municipalities.
Likely all political subdivisions throughout the country have faced a difficult code enforcement case where the property owner is not compliant. Our attorneys have experience working through these cases from beginning to end to ensure that the goals of the code are realized. In appropriate cases, costs of nuisance abatement, including legal fees, can be recouped as an assessment against the nuisance property.
Grove City, Ohio
The Frost Brown Todd team has worked with the City of Grove City to obtain court orders for demolition or clean-up of nuisance properties. For example, the team members at Frost Brown Todd were able to obtain injunctive relief for the City to shut down operations of a hotel that had become a public safety hazard due to frequent criminal activity. The closure of the hotel eliminated the public safety threats it had posed, and now the structure has been demolished and the property is situated for redevelopment. The Frost Brown Todd team has also guided Grove City through civil enforcement of nuisance regulations at several residential properties, improving the health, safety, and appearance of affected neighborhoods.
Frost Brown Todd has represented the City of Dublin in numerous code enforcement actions to preserve public safety and property values. These have included obtaining injunctions authorizing demolitions and clean-up of properties that have become hazards due to neglect or damage, as well as regular assistance in enforcement of zoning regulations.
Our government services team has attorneys on hand who can provide experienced guidance on our clients’ legal and ethical responsibilities under various privacy laws, including those required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, USA Patriot Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and the FTC’s Identity Theft Red Flag Rules. We provide training and counsel government entities on how to strengthen their privacy and data management practices. We use a coordinated approach to risk assessments and the development of compliance solutions for the public sector, often working with clients in a preemptive nature to minimize both the fiscal and reputational impact of potential data breaches, ransomware, and other forms of cyber theft.
- The development and formulation of website security and privacy statements and disclosures
- Advertising and marketing issues, including those raised by targeted behavioral advertising
- Issues concerning identity theft, including medical identity theft
- Issues raised by federal computer security and trade secret statutes
- Record retention policies and practices
- Formulating Identity Theft Red Flag Programs and procedures
- Employment information confidentiality
- Education information privacy
- Reviewing and drafting third party service provider confidentiality agreements
- Planning for and responding to data security breaches throughout the country
- HIPAA compliant business associate agreements and data use agreements
- HIPAA privacy and security policies and procedure
We assist with planning, drafting of forms, legislation, resolutions, and ordinances, investigations, prosecution of violations, and defense of claims, whether in litigation or in the administrative process. We also offer routine advice and guidance before, during, and after the process, in the substantive areas outlined below.
- Liquor licensing
- Adult cabaret regulations
- Environmental conservation legislation
- Government relations and lobbying
- Regulatory sandboxes
- Tax-increment financing
- Zoning classifications
- Economic development initiatives
- Cooperative purchasing agreements
- Charter schools
- Energy efficiency incentives (ePADs)
The City of Powell had one of the lowest income tax rates in all of Ohio at just 0.75%. Team members at Frost Brown Todd were able to help the City raise the tax rate to 2.0%, despite the legal challenges that such a raise presented. The Frost Brown Todd team was able to help the City navigate all necessary processes and procedures to raise their tax rate to a level that will sustain the City moving forward.
Our team has a wealth of experience navigating eminent domain issues. We draft the necessary documentation for the acquisition, negotiate with property owners and their counsel, and even take court action to fulfill acquisitions when necessary. We understand that these matters can cause tension within a community, and we have experience navigating those issues to achieve the best results.
State of Ohio
Retained to serve as special counsel to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”), team members at Frost Brown Todd successfully represented the State in over 50 eminent domain actions involving the alleged flooding of farmlands. The litigation originated from the modification of a spillway on the western border of Grand Lake St. Mary’s. After unsuccessful settlement negotiations and an appropriation trial, Frost Brown Todd was retained as special counsel. Taking lead on the continuing litigation, the team at Frost Brown Todd successfully navigated ODNR through the litigation and led ODNR to successful negotiations.
We work with municipal, township, and county governments to help them realize their economic development goals. Our team recognizes that economic development requires a multifaceted approach, from drafting and administering land use regulations that facilitate desired development to annexing property, and drafting development and incentive agreements that further the client’s goals.
Liberty Township, Ohio
Butler County and Liberty Township sought to partake in a large economic development project on approximately 65 acres of real property located in Liberty Township, Butler County, Ohio. Team members at Frost Brown Todd assisted these local governments in their development of this mixed-use commercial project known today as the Liberty Center. Making Butler County and Liberty Township more competitive with other political subdivisions, this economic development project brought more than $300 million in private investment, an estimated 3,200 jobs during the construction phase, and an estimated 4,500 permanent jobs for the area.
Bridge Street District: The City of Dublin sought to develop the Bridge Street District as a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that contained office, residential and retail features. This project is Dublin’s commitment to the future and it is an entertainment, dining, retail and office destination with riverfront parks and appealing housing choices. Team members at Frost Brown Todd have been able to assist the City with this ever-developing project by advising on all legal matters along the way. Many features of this overall project have been completed, but the project development continues to grow.
Riverside Crossing Park: Dublin, Ohio: The City of Dublin sought to create a large space for the community highlighting natural features and encompassing both sides of the Scioto River – the Riverside Crossing Park. The East Plaza of the Park was envisioned as a venue for public events including features such as a greenspace and an interactive bouldering play area. The West Plaza was envisioned as a location to display the riverside and to make connections to the water and pedestrian trails. The Frost Brown Todd team has assisted throughout this large project by advising on all necessary real estate acquisitions and construction documents.
Pedestrian Bridge: As part of their larger plan for the Riverside Crossing Park, the City of Dublin sought to build a pedestrian bridge across the Scioto River which would connect two budding areas of the City. The project faced several challenges along the way, but team members at Frost Brown Todd were able to assist the City with addressing all legal matters, and construction of the bridge was completed in 2020.
Team members at Frost Brown Todd were recently able to assist the City of Johnstown with bringing a substantial economic development project to the City. The project will generate approximately 50 new jobs for the community. These new jobs will create a substantial amount of additional income for the City because of their tax contributions.
Our attorneys have deep subject-matter expertise with respect to Sunshine Law compliance, including both federal public records laws and their “blue sky” counterparts. We provide annual training on our clients’ public records and open meetings obligations. We also routinely assist clients in responding to subpoenas and information requests, helping ensure ensure full compliance with federal and state law. We work closely with our public-sector clients to avoid other Constitutional challenges as well, including those involving First Amendment, Free Exercise and Establishment Clause, and Searches and Seizures.
Project Highlight: Bridge Street District – Dublin, OH
Our latest thinking on legal issues impacting the public sector.
Experience Highlights – Ohio | Government Services Practice Group
September 21, 2022
Ohio Clarifies that Juneteenth Is a Paid Holiday for Nonteaching Employees Who Work 11 or 12 Months ...
April 5, 2022
Ohio Tax Talk: How Small Business Relief Would Work
April 1, 2022
U.S. Department of The Treasury Publishes Final Rule for State and Local ARPA Fund Recipients
January 14, 2022
Revisions to Statute Governing Centralized Municipal Business Tax Collections to Take Effect for Tax...
January 7, 2022
New Ohio Law Provides Further Flexibility to Ohio Schools for the 2021-2022 School Year
January 5, 2022
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding and Policy Announcements
December 20, 2021